Ch­ester­field farm lacks de­vel­op­ment part­ner

Record Observer - - News -

CEN­TRE­VILLE — For the last sev­eral months, the Eastern Shore Land Con­ser­vancy has worked to ad­vance com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion around the even­tual de­vel­op­ment of Ch­ester­field, known as the Carter Farm, in Cen­tre­ville.

ESCL views Ch­ester­field as a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity for Cen­tre­ville to re­design its own front porch on the beau­ti­ful Cor­sica River.

ESLC held for­mal and in­for­mal meet­ings with Cen­tre­ville res­i­dents and town rep­re­sen­ta­tives, al­low­ing a trans­par­ent and pub­lic process that es­tab­lished guid­ing con­sid­er­a­tions for de­vel­op­ment. Cou­pled with com­mu­nity in­put, plan­ning and de­sign in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als gen­er­ated in­no­va­tive ideas and re­fined de­vel­op­ment pa­ram­e­ters, carving out the fol­low­ing de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions: ac­cess for pub­lic open space and recre­ation, in­clud­ing in­te­gra­tion into the town trail system; preser­va­tion of the Carter farm­house; agri­cul­tural com­po­nents, in­clud­ing ro­bust com­mu­nity gar­dens and other scal­able uses; com­mer­cial, such as des­ti­na­tion inn, mar­ket and or farm to ta­ble res­tau­rant; and a mix of types, sizes and price points for hous­ing.

The re­sult­ing vi­sion cel­e­brates a mix of com­mer­cial, res­i­den­tial and abun­dant com­mu­nity uses. ESLC’s vi­sion lever­ages off pub­lic ac­cess con­nec­tions, in­clud­ing the Carter Farm­house and a new des­ti­na­tion farm to ta­ble inn as ameni­ties, which would fur­ther con­nect com­mu­ni­ties to the land and re­tains the farm’s agri­cul­tural her­itage through com­mu­nity gar­dens.

The vi­sion in­te­grates with the trail system around town, opens ac­cess to the Cor­sica River, and in­vites town res­i­dents and visi­tors onto the prop­erty as a hub of com­mer­cial and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties with a bal­ance of hous­ing to add a core of down­town en­ergy.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s con­tract on Ch­ester­field ended on Wed­nes­day, Sept. 21, at 5 p.m., as the con­ser­va­tion group was un­suc­cess­ful in re­cruit­ing a de­vel­op­ment or fi­nan­cial part­ner to ad­vance the pro­ject. Also with­out suc­cess, ESLC ap­proached the cur­rent owner with a pro­posal for a part­ner­ship that would have pushed the de­vel­op­ment to­wards the com­mu­nity vi­sion with ESLC fundrais­ing to off­set costs of added com­mu­nity ameni­ties.

While the non­profit group’s con­tract has lapsed, ESLC re­mains com­mit­ted to Cen­tre­ville. Ac­cord­ing to ESLC Cen­ter for Towns Di­rec­tor Katie Parks, the pri­or­ity is “to sup­port the out­comes of the com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion and de­ter­mine how they may be ap­plied to the prop­erty now, or be set in place for when the prop­erty is de­vel­oped in the fu­ture.”

ESLC will share the con­cep­tual visual with the town and pub­lic, in­clud­ing a nar­ra­tive out­lin­ing their process, lessons learned and rec­om­men­da­tions.

The out­pour­ing of sup­port and ideas from the com­mu­nity was in­spir­ing to ESLC, of­fi­cials said, and yielded a vi­sion rooted in com­mu­nity, which pri­or­i­tizes pub­lic ac­cess to the land and wa­ter. And while turn­ing that vi­sion into re­al­ity at Ch­ester­field is elu­sive to­day, Cen­tre­ville can still grow by choice on this farm and oth­ers.

ESLC is a pri­vate, non­profit land con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing and sus­tain­ing the vi­brant com­mu­ni­ties of the Eastern Shore and the lands and wa­ters that con­nect them. For more in­for­ma­tion visit

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